Those of us who warned that calling an election may not have been an act of political genius see ominous black clouds billowing over the horizon. It is not a thunderstorm. It is not the seven horsemen of the apocalypse popping out for a pint. The sky is blackening with Mayan chickens coming home to roost.
The coronation has been cancelled, the dainty sandwiches are curling at the ends, the beer is going flat and the bunting in tatters. Tomorrow will be crunch day. The first opinion polls since the wickedness of Manchester will be pawed over. If there is not a marked improvement there is a distinct possibility of a Corbyn government. Writing, let alone reading those words, fills me with a primal sense of dread. Yet all we comfortable middle classes do is float around in our cosy little echo chamber of, ‘well, of course she’ll win…….er…..won’t she?’
I hope that the polling nose dive may stir the Remainers to abandon their guilty little secret of wanting to vote Lib Dem. Farron has been surprisingly hopeless. Maybe stay at homers will be encouraged to get out and vote. Some of us warned that Corbyn, despite his many faults, has a sense of innocence and decency about him. He has had a great campaign. Mobbed by adoring fans. Surrounded by bright eyed youngsters. If I was Lynton Crosby I would focus on his team. Bill boards of Abbott, ‘your next Home Secretary.’ Thornberry, ‘your next Foreign Secretary.’ And that nasty old man McDonnell. Well I’d just have him depicted with horns and cloven feet, drawing up lists of who will be shot after the revolution. In fact, anyold holiday snap will do. Whatever happens, and I predict a smallish May majority, there will be two consequences. Corbyn will be cemented in place as the eternal leader and moderate Labour will form a new party. This will be very dangerous for the Conservatives. Ah, yes, the C word will come back into fashion. The kid’s chemistry set experiment of Mayan adoration is making an eggy gas smell and is in danger of blowing up. They won’t try that little wheeze for a while.
But May is not so much damaged goods as just shown to be mortal. The party will demand changes. The big beasts of Fallon, Davis, Green and McLoughlin will exert more of an influence. She will be told that the wings of Timothy and Hill must be clipped. That there must be more of a collegiate approach. That there must be more consultation. Perhaps even make Davis deputy prime minister. It’s a bit like Thatcher before the fall. Ministers were queuing up to tell her that she should be in listening mode, more collegiate and less arrogant. She just slipped them the birdie. The end was swift and bloody.
I do hope May listens. She is basically a decent person with good instincts. I am told that when she relaxes with friends she can be warm. I suspect that there is an inherent shyness and insecurity which gives the impression of glacial indifference to others. That her dread of getting it wrong makes her look stilted and awkward. It’s time she became more relaxed in her own skin.
We can’t afford any more mistakes. This election has become interesting. And utterly terrifying.